Monday, June 26, 2006

Mont Du Lac Dirtspanker race yesterday. Here's me holding up my prize! Thanks to Jeff Fraboni and Greg Minerich about a mile of new singletrack was added to the loop. Nice new bridges, corners, twisty, but not too tight, singletrack. This was my first year racing this course, kinda sad cuz I live in Duluth. I'll chalk that up to having the crud the past few years. The course is pretty challenging - especially the first climb. The elite men and women started together. I really liked racing with the men and seeing where I can improve. After the first climb I was riding behind Charlie Farrow and Ross. Something his Ross's tire, he flatted and soon after I got around Charlie. Todd McFadden flew from behind and slowly picked his way around the line of riders ahead of myself and I slowly followed. I was still not too far behind Todd after the second lap. My third lap kinda stunk. I crashed on the long bridge and felt really slow in the singletrack. I could tell my legs were leaning towards cramping up, so I had to back off the last time up the long climb, but was able to ride the big ring for most of the fourth lap. I felt I was starting to catch some men again as I finished my last lap.

I guess I just felt ok racing. Not good, not great, for sure really hot - especially up the long climb. I have been really tired the past few weeks and not sleeping well so I have been forced not to ride my bike. It's rare that I don't feel like riding my bike for days at a time, but that was where I was, so I didn't force myself to ride. This race was a test to see how I felt. I still feel somewhat tired, but my energy is starting to come back.

Thanks to Scott and Dr. Bob pouring cold water on me. I made it up the hill each time. My dad and mom showed up for the race and handed Scott and I water. I think this is the second time they have seen me race. My dad road races, which is pretty cool. He's fast too. I have a hard time training with him, cuz he always goes a little to hard to be easy, but not hard enough to be hard. We've talked about this and he says he just gets all fired up once he's on his bike and can't seem to keep his easy days mellow.

Scott started the race, but stopped after a lap and 1/2. He feels pretty bad still. His energy levels have been much worse than mine. After this race he is ready to sell all his bikes and take up carpentry (and fix our VW van) as a summer job. His body isn't working quite right, but I am sure he will come around. Once his energy gets back he'll miss biking.

The COGGS group really did a great job of making this race happen. I am in charge of COGGS membership and I highly encourage readers to visit to check out the benefits of membership - especially locals, but also those visiting the area and whom enjoy the trails COGGS builds and maintains (i.e. Mont Du Lac, Spirit Mtn, Pokegema, Hartley, and they are currently working towards trailbuilding in Lester).

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival Race Recap: It felt like the race started the day before, in the sweltering heat of the sun beating in our car windows as we drove to the Keweenaw penisula. Once we hit Poplar, WI the temp jumped 20+ degrees to 90. Once we got to the hotel, we went for a quick ride while the AC in the hotel room was cooling it down for our return. Ahhh......
Saturday morning it was already hot and humid by the time the roll-out started at 10am. The race starts in Houghton, but heads over the bridge to Hancock for all but the first 1/4 to 1/2 mile of the race. Once the patrol car pulled over and the race started I was drafting off the lead mens group. That lasted until we climbed this monster switchback climb that took us to the singletrack. The lead group had to slow down and filter into singletrack which gave me time to catch back up to the lead group of men. I raced with that pack of men for the first half of the race - which was really fun! I was mostly in the back of the pack, and I don't think they were going full-on race pace, but it was cool to ride with a group for such a long time. I ended up getting dropped on this really long uphill. I just didn't have enough power in my legs and thought I could catch back up on the downhills. Didn't happen. I passed Scott as he dropped out and I felt really bad. He's having a rough year - again. Maybe some sequalae from drinking bad water for two years? The last 10 miles (of 32) I got really tired, probably cuz the races I typically do are around 20 miles. The last 5 miles I felt as if I were riding backwards - I could tell I was going really slow. I downed 2 liters of water from my hydration pack (its the Chris Eatough design Jansport pack - its light and worked fantastic) and a bottle of cytomax and still didn't have enough water. At one point in the race, I got really hot - like flames coming out of the skull hot. I was still happy with my day - I was 20' faster than last year's time (last year I was sick from drinking bacteria laden water from our contaminated well - not finding that out until early July) and I was 30' ahead of the second women. My goal was to finish in the top 10 mens overall - I was 7th. It was pretty cool to get to ride with the men.
The finish of the race is only 2 miles from the start, and the race is point to point with great singletrack. The race seems harder than some of the other longer races I do each year, because of the singletrack. I can't just put my head down and go hard, I have to mentally keep it together to be able to ride singletrack, especially once I get tired. It was also pretty cool race cuz I ran into an old friend from college that also did the race and got to talk to a Trek employee about equipment, etc.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Scott and I are getting ready for the Keewenaw Chain Drive Festival 32 mile race this weekend in Houghton, MI. We've done this race the past two years. It is a great race to test my fitness/training for longer races, especially for the Ore to Shore and Chequamegon later this season. Houghton is a pretty neat city. Alot like Duluth, only smaller. There is this whole Bridgefest and Seafood festival going on - and a technical time trial on sunday (Scott won it two years ago and is pictured here). In past years, I have run into friends from my days at NMU. Last year Scott and I hiked at the Porquipine mountains and up to the lake of the clouds (see photo). Back at NMU our ski team would take a long training weekend there and train insane hours in only 3 days...running, rollerskiing, hiking. I don't rollerski anymore...way too boring. I tried it 1x last fall and gave it up for good.. My feet hurt after 15' and all I could think about was riding my bike!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Scott and I decided to head the the MNSCS Rochester Steeplechase race today. I was looking forward to testing my fitness against Kyia and Jenna. Kyia has been racing since March, and Jenna since April, so I expected them to be fast. They were. The course was mostly tight twisty singletrack with punchy climbs rendering passing difficult. For the first two miles or so Kyia, Jenna, and I were riding together. Then we caught the comp men. Jenna gapped Kyia and I while we had difficulty passing on the tight singletrack and then I bobbled and Jenna and Kyia both gapped me. I passed Kyia back on the long climb and gained some time back on Jenna, but not able to bridge the 20 sec or so gap. My legs finally felt OK during the third lap, before that they were burning and heavy. I had some difficulty with my shifting on the last lap, probably from cable stretch. I didn't take it much out of my big ring each lap. It was HOT! Over 80's and probably the hottest day for us northerner's all year - especially to race in. Still not as bas as the internal inferno I felt racing at Afton a few years back. Jenna won, me second, and Kyia third. No payout for me. We need more women racing! Only 5 women showed up. Scott did 3 (of 5) laps and then was done. His back was really sore from hauling about 8 cubic yards of black dirt the previous day. We both made a big mistake in that regards. 6 hours of hauling dirt and garden building yesterday. We both are sunburnt - before we started the race today. Less than brilliant. It was fun to race a MN series race again. Next race on the agenda is the Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival 32 mile race. Very fun singletrack and good race preparation for longer races such as the Ore to Shore and Chequamegon.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It hailed again tonight. Thunder, lightning, pouring rain. I love the smell of the air after the storm passes and the orangish hue to the sky - pretty cool. Scott and I got out for a road ride tonight after work finishing long before the storm blew through. We were both quite tired so we made a nice loop riding mostly on skyline parkway that traverses the city of duluth. Beautiful sunny day. Some guy in a big pickup truck decided not to move over at all on a road with no shoulder. If I were the police I would impound his truck and give him a bicycle to use for a month.

Scott and I are thinking of doing the MNSCS race on sunday this weekend. It's just over a 3 hour drive, compared with 4 and 1/2 for the WORS race. We'll see how we feel. I still have that nagging dirt pile to contend with and gardens to build, but in truth it will more depend upon how my legs feel than anything. Should be a good turnout for the MNSCS race for expert/pro women. Tomorrow likely an off day, but we may take a short hike on some of the new superior hiking trail that is being built through the city of duluth. The trail is basically built from enger tower (just west of downtown) all the way out to Jay Cook State Park - maybe 30 miles or so of trail. Some really nice overlooks and great terrain. I'll try to remember to take my camera.